This is a great video covering the disadvantage of email for collaborative and knowledge work. Email is a great tool for direct communication. It is not optimal at all for knowledge sharing and collaboration. Will email go away? No, for sure not, but we need to drive change in the workplace! I am a child of the Email generation and in todays workplace still a lot of the employees live through and within their email. To change that we need to integrate email and Social Software, where social ways of collaborating and sharing become a natural piece of the email client. We need Social Mail!
And we personally to adhere to some simple rules to teach our co-workers, how to work more productive and reduce the number of emails:
- Don’t send attachments – Wherever appropriate don’t send attachments. Store them in your social software or content repository, protect them if needed and share them with your teammates.
- E-Mail is not ideal for Project Work and Project Management. Use Social tools like the Activity module within IBM Connections as an easy to use, not overloaded Project Management tool. Get away from spreadsheets and email trails to manage projects.
- Leverage the wisdom of the crowd and brainstorm ideas and questions through communities and blogs. You will be surprised how much better a transparent discussion works.
- Use Email – thoughtfully. Yes, we should continue using email, but in cases like the ones described as a notification vehicle making people aware of the social places, they should collaborate and share information on. Let us be realistic: Most of the people still look in their email inbox for new work to be done or new information. We need to capture their attention in the inbox and then drive them to social places, so that they personally experience the advantages of to work social.
- Think before you Email, share wherever appropriate – We need to get a checkbox in our DNA. Before we send an email with information we should to a bunch of people, we should always consider, if sharing information is in this case not more efficient. If we receive valuable information in our inbox, we should always consider to put the information in our Social Software. Get valuable information out of your personal information silo and put it in Social Software. Security is not an excuse. You can protect information in todays system, so that only authorized people have access (even with read-only and/or editing rights).
- Move email newsletters into your Social Software – I used to send around a weekly newsletter to my European team every Monday. It was a traditional email with hopefully useful information and links. A few weeks I turned my way of working around. The newsletter is now a blog entry within IBM’s European Social Business Community. Information is and stays available for retrieving in our worldwide IBM Connections community. And in addition I am distributing the information by email.
- I am bored of promotional emails and SPAM – Wherever I have left my business card or my email online, I get quite often spammed with information I have not asked for. Since a while I am rigorously unsubscribing (if the option is offered), reply and ask to put me off the distribution list or put senders on my Email Junk list, so that I no longer get bothered with this kind of information.
It is not about completely replacing Email. It is about using Email appropriately and work social wherever it makes sense. There are for sure more rules how to drive change to a Social Workplace and Social Business. I would be happy to get your suggestions and comments.
Check out the IBM web pages on how to live outside the inbox. They are available in several languages.
- Outside the inbox – Dutch language
- Outside the inbox – English language
- Outside the inbox – French language
- Outside the inbox – German language
- Outside the inbox – Italian language